Obituaries [June 2010]

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2010:

Rue McClanahan, 76, died of a stroke on June 3, 2010 in
Manhattan. Born and educated in Oklahoma, McClanahan relocated to
New York City and landed her first off-Broadway stage role in 1957.
Television producer Norman Lear cast her in episodes of All In The
Family (1971) and Maude (1972), and she also performed in the
1982-1984 series Mama’s Family before rising to stardom in Golden
Girls (1985-1992.) McClanahan debuted as a PETA spokesperson against
fur in 1988, began promoting cruelty-free cosmetics in 1989, and
spoke out against abuse of animals in show business in 1990. As each
issue led to another, McClanahan became spokesperson for the Farm
Sanctuary legacy program in 1996, and went on to many other
prominent roles in activism, including lecturing Democratic
presidential nominee John Kerry for shooting pheasant in a 2003
photo-op and petitioning President George W. Bush to allow animal
rescuers into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Michael Winters, 30, was killed in an apparent pack dog
attack on June 15, 2010 at the home he shared with his father
Michael Kywa in New Russia Township, Lorain County, Ohio. Some
reports placed the scene in neighboring Henrietta Township. The dogs
reportedly included a Rottweiler mix, five bull mastiffs, and three
pit bull/boxer mixes. Tonya Sams and Michael Sangiacomo of the
Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Winter “rescued stray dogs and
cared for them at his home.” But Winter did not appear to have been
well-known to other local dog rescuers. Richard Payerchin of the
Northern Ohio Morning Journal reported that “In the past two years,
the Erie Shores Humane Society received three anonymous calls about
dogs fighting or being beaten with a 2-by-4 board at the property,”
according to humane investigator Shannon Moss. Moss found that the
dogs “did not seem sickly or malnourished to me,” but “did seem
overly aggressive.” Winters was the first person to be killed by
rescued dogs since 2007, but was the seventh person to suffer
disfiguring injuries from a rescued dog in 2010, and the 27th since
2006.

Brittany R. Schult, 23, who worked at the Eden Valley
organic farm operated by the Seventh Day Adventist mission near
Masonville, Colorado, drowned after jumping into the frigid and
fast-flowing Charles Hansen Feeder Canal to try to rescue a puppy.
The puppy survived, but Schult was swept several miles downstream.

Jeri Cox, 71, died on May 28, 2010 in Lakeland, Florida,
after fighting cancer since 2006. Living across the street from the
animal shelter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she met shelter director
Warren Cox in 1958. Cox had just become the first person known to
have used TV to promote pet adoptions. They soon married, and
raised four daughters while Warren held leadership positions at 24
humane societies in 13 states. He is currently acting executive
director of the Lakeland SPCA.

Les Line, 74, died of a heart attack on May 23, 2010 in
Sharon, Connecticut. Line broke into journalism by writing an
outdoors column for a local newspaper while still in high school. As
editor of the Michigan Audubon Society newsletter, Line helped to
persuade the state legislature to end a 120-year-old bounty on
wolves. Line joined the staff of the National Audubon Society
magazine Audubon in 1965. Promoted to editor in 1966, he introduced
a slick format that helped to boost circulation from about 35,000 to
nearly 500,000, revitalizing the National Audubon Society and
influencing the entire magazine industry. Line was noted for having
predicted that the Exxon Valdez oil spill would happen, 12 years
before it did, and for bucking National Audubon Society board policy
by criticizing the capture of the last wild Calif-ornia condors to be
bred in zoos. “As a young editor in Michigan, he would sometimes
write an anti-cat editorial, just to provoke cat fanciers. At
Audubon, he would anger as many readers as he pleased with articles
favoring controlled hunting,” recalled New York Times obituarist
Douglas Martin. “But Line’s visibility was undoubtedly highest when
he was fired in March 1991.” The National Audubon Society “had
decided that it wanted to be a bigger player among environmental
groups; consultants suggested that it could invigorate the magazine
by de-emphasizing birds. The board replaced Line with the former
managing editor of a supermarket tabloid.” The attempt to reinvent
the organization and the magazine failed. The National Audubon
Society returned to a focus on birds, and Line was a frequent
freelance contributor and columnist for the last decade of his life.

Michelle Rein, 44, was killed by a train on June 11, 2010
while rescuing her black Chihuahua Taz from the tracks at the Bryn
Mawr station in Philadelphia. Taz survived. An adjunct professor in
the history department at Villanova University, Rein taught a course
called Women in the Middle East, and was an expert on Islamic art
and architecture. “According to family and friends, Rein suffered
from chronic regional pain syndrome, an autoimmune illness that
incapacitates its victims,” wrote Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer
Bonnie L. Cook. This may have contributed to the accident.

Hassan Ali, a forest guard at Orang National Park in Assam,
India, was shot dead on June 11, 2010 after confronting four
alleged poachers including a home guard named Isha Haq Ali and a
mahout (elephant handler) named Tajuddin. All four suspects were
arrested, said park divisional forest officer Sushil Daila.

Robyn Lotz, 26, a volunteer at the Chipangali Wildlife
Orphanage near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, was killed by an African lion on
June 1, 2010. The lion escaped from an improperly secured holding
cage while Lotz and other workers spread new hay in the lion’s main
cage and seized the back of Lotz’s head in his mouth. Chipangali
owner Kevin Wilson shot the lion to free Lotz, but she was dead on
arrival at the nearest hospital.

John Wakefield, 95, died in May 2010 in Mysore, Karnataka,
India. Born in Gaya, Bijar, Wakefield was of the fifth generation
of his family to live in India; his great-grandfather arrived in
1826. Wakefield shot his first leopard at nine and his first tiger
at 10, and after serving in the British Army from 1941 to 1954,
worked as a hunting guide until the passage of the 1972 Wildlife
Preservation Act forced him to switch to promoting non-lethal
ecotourism. During the next 30 years, while many other promoters’
practices damaged habitat and contributed to the loss of wildlife,
Wakefield was credited with leading the development of non-intrusive
wildlife ecotourism in India, chiefly in Karnataka state.

Sandy Herold, 70, died on May 24, 2010 from a heart attack.
Herold for 14 years kept a male chimpanzee named Travis at her home
in Stamford, Connecticut. The chimp bit people in 1996 and 1998,
and escaped to rampage through the streets for two hours in 2003,
then tore the face and hands off Herold’s friend Charla Nash in
February 2009 and was shot dead in the act of attacking the first
police officer to respond to Herold’s call.

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